As much as my wife wants to say her children were “born in North Vancouver,” they’ve been raised on the prairies. Zacharie was 2 and a half when we moved to Calgary, Charlie barely a month old. All they know and remember about life they’ve learned in Calgary.

When Zacharie’s class went to Aggie Days last week, to learn all about agriculture at the Calgary Stampede, he had his choice of 3 cowboy hats and a dozen plaid shirts to wear for the big day. I even had a bandana for him to wrap around his neck. He’s a prairie kid.

So despite the fact that Zacharie’s first hockey game was watching the Canucks, despite his first road hockey games being about ‘Berto and Daniel, and despite them having Canucks hats and tshirts in their closets, they’re Flames fans.

 

Report card day reward, meeting Sean Monahan! #flames #nhl #hockey #charlie #zacharie

A photo posted by dadcamp (@dadcampgram) on

I, on the other hand, still bleed blue.

I’m a Canucks fan. My boys have their autographs from Monahan, I’ve got mine from Linden.

Cheering for the Cancuks

Sure, living in Calgary has had me cheering for the C of Red this year, but I still buck up for NHL Gamecenter so I can lie in bed at night with my iPhone and watch the Canucks play their games.

I like sparring with the boys about who will win and who can cheer louder. I have no problem putting a Canucks and a Flames car flag on my ride. No matter what happens in this first round of the playoffs I’m a winner. Either my favorite team or my home team will move on to the second round, and that will be exciting. I’ve never really understood the religious devotion some have to sports teams.

The first thing I bought when I got the job in Calgary was a Flames jersey. As a member of the local media I need to, outwardly anyway, cheer for the home team (even if I’m lying to my heart). So I have the gear. And I even get a little excited to see things like the Stanley Cup with an archrival Calgary Flames team engraved on it.

Zacharie and Stanley Cup

I just want to see some good hockey and while I’ll cheer blue, I’ll be satisfied with red.

Game nights will be late around here, the boys will be in bed before puck drop at 8, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the playoffs with team dinners all week. Whether you’re a Canucks fan or a Flames fan, here’s something to serve up before the series starts.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Beef Sandwiches

It’s all about Alberta beef on the prairies, so grab a slab, slap it in the slow cooker and have this ready when you get home from work.

Ingredients
3 lb (1.5 kg) beef boneless chuck roast
1 cup (250 mL) barbecue sauce
1/2 cup (125 mL) peach or apricot preserves
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped green bell pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tsp (10 mL) packed brown sugar
1 small onion, sliced
12 kaiser or hamburger buns, split

Instructions
Trim excess fat from beef. Cut beef into 4 pieces. Place beef in 4- to 5-quart slow cooker.

Mix remaining ingredients except buns; pour over beef. Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 8 hours or until beef is tender.

Remove beef to cutting board. Cut into thin slices; return to cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 20 to 30 minutes longer or until beef is hot. Fill buns with beef mixture.

Quinoa Pilaf with Salmon and Asparagus

Quinoa Salmon Salad

Canucks fans will have to hustle through their yoga class after work, but they can still settle in for the big game with this uber healthy salad for dinner.

Ingredients
1 cup (250 mL) uncooked quinoa
6 cups (1.5 L) water, divided
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 lb (500 g) salmon fillets
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter or margarine
20 stalks fresh asparagus, cut diagonally into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces (2 cups/500 mL)
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup/50 mL)
1 cup (250 mL) Green Giant* Frozen Summer Sweet Peas, thawed
1/2 cup (125 mL) halved grape tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon-pepper seasoning
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh or 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried dill weed

Instructions
Rinse quinoa thoroughly by placing in a fine-mesh strainer and holding under cold running water until water runs clear; drain well.

In 2-quart saucepan, heat 2 cups of the water to boiling over high heat. Add quinoa; reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, heat remaining 4 cups water and bouillon cube to boiling over high heat. Add salmon, skin side up; reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Remove with slotted spoon to plate; let cool. Discard water. Remove skin from salmon; break into large pieces.

Meanwhile, rinse and dry skillet. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in onions; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in peas, tomatoes and broth; cook 1 minute.

Gently stir quinoa, salmon, lemon-pepper seasoning and dill weed into asparagus mixture. Cover; cook about 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

So, who are you cheering for?

Disclosure: I’m a brand ambassador for Life Made Delicious.

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